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ITM Insight

CIO or IT Manager?
26 February 2015

CSUB443-CIO-or-ITManager-Is there a difference between a CIO and an IT Manager?  If so, what are the differences?  Or are they really one and the same?

A Post by Mark Roman, a university CIO, describes the difference as an IT Managerfocuses primarily on technology.  A Chief Information Officer focuses on people, processes, projects, and technology as a holistic system designed to achieve the mutual interests of the entire organization”.

Another opinion focused on the word “information”, that a CIO focuses on the information required and an IT Manager is focused on the technology.

An anonymous opinion, someone in a sales role, said he worked with many people holding one or the other title and there wasn’t any difference at all and put it down to the CIO being in larger or government organisations and an IT Manager being in smaller or medium organisations.

The general opinion though appears to be that the CIO while still very tech savvy, sees the bigger picture, is more aware of the “people” factor and how the technology will fit the organisation’s goals and needs, while the IT Manager ensures the technology is current and functions as it should.

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Postgraduate degrees in Information Systems Management are now offered which include accounting, economics, finance, management and marketing aimed at graduates taking up the role of Chief Information Officer.  Prerequisites for the courses are degrees in Information Technology.  Which also appears to indicate the IT Manager role, with additional skills and knowledge progresses to the CIO role.

Roman also suggests “A CIO is part of the DNA of the entire organization, not just the techie side of it.  A CIO is deeply engaged in the core mission of the organization where technology is viewed as a means to an end.”

“The Accidental Successful CIO™” suggests there are three changes which need to happen for an IT Manager to become a CIO—

  • Go from specialist to generalist
  • Go from analyst to integrator, and
  • Go from tactician to strategist

All three indicate a broadening of scope, knowledge and skills.

So it is an evolution and a transformation, both mean growth and are good for the mind and the soul.

Renaissance or Revolution?
19 February 2015

CSUB442-Renaissance-or-Revolution

Renaissance or Revolution?

An opinion article on CIO.com talks about a “renaissance revolution”, can one really have an event which is a combination of the two?

A renaissance is rebirth and generally applied to culture and learning and is more of an evolution, while revolution is not generally cultured, is more rapid and is a more drastic change.

Perhaps it is possible to have a renaissance revolution, as the role of IT Head is evolving and needs to be reborn to remain relevant, while technology is by its nature more drastic and rapid in how it is changing.  So we have a renaissance person leading the revolution.

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To be effective and relevant technology should no longer be about the hardware and software but how it interrelates with the organisation’s strategies and goals.

The renaissance CIO understands the real power of information technology, the risks involved in its implementation and know how to weave IT into the business for strategic benefits.

Phil Weinzimer in his opinion article talks about four transformation phases to improve a company’s competitive position and spoke with four CIOs who are using information and technology in innovative ways to create new competitive value.

  1. Deliver Commodity and Business Services Exceptionally Well.

Rob Carter, CIO at FedEx, recognized an opportunity to improve the customer corridors that comprise the set of processes used by business units to create customer value. His strategy to compete collectively, manage collaboratively, and operate independently dramatically improved the ability for FedEx business units to work together and provide improved value to customers.

  1. Understand the Business, Focus on User Experiences, and Improve Business Skills of IT Personnel.

Debra Martucci, CIO at Synopsys, hired MBA’s to work with IT vice presidents, directors and key personnel to accomplish three objectives. First, to understand how the Synopsys business fits into the competitive marketplace. Second to help IT personnel understand where customer value is created across the Synopsys value chain. Third, to help IT personnel enhance their business skills to more effectively work in business teams.

  1. Implement Initiatives to Improve Margin (Sales/Cost)

Randy Spratt, CIO and CTO at McKesson, improved the integration process of newly acquired companies because, the faster we integrate, the sooner we will derive the economic benefit.

  1. Leverage Technologies to Innovate Value.

Filippo Passerini, group president, global business services and CIO at P&G is passionate about creating information democracy across the various business units. His digitize, visualize, and simulate strategy changed the business model and helped managers make well-informed business decisions.

Renaissance CIOs recognise the value of knowledge and are evolving to manage the knowledge and exploit its value not only to the company but more importantly the value to their customers.  In the “Age of the Customer” it is imperative to understand their needs faster and more effectively to ensure repeat business and stay ahead of the competition.